May 25 2011

Shenandoah Earrings in Step by Step Wire magazine?

Published by at 1:15 pm under jewelry

Recently I received an email from a friend and customer pointing out that what looks like my Shenandoah earrings have been published in the latest Step By Step Wire magazine. The earrings project in the magazine is called “Lace Skirts” by Lauren Anderson, who goes by The Chainmaille Lady on artfire and Etsy.

pg 23 in Step by Step Wire magazine

raine studios’ Shenandoah Earrings

Lauren Anderson purchased a full kit from my Etsy supplies store for the bracelet, earrings and pendant last summer. The kit I sold at that time did not come with a photo tutorial, just a page of written instructions and a photo showing exactly where each ring was placed along with a caveat that the kit was really for advanced chainmaillers. (I now have a photo tutorial for free on my blog.)

She did make some minimal changes to the ring sizes. At the time she purchased the kit, I was using 16g 10mm and 6mm rings for the large upper and lower ring (I’ve since switched to using 14g) and she doubles those rings instead of using them singly as I had. She also changed all the ring sizes to imperial inch sizes rather than metric. Switching to imperial probably does alleviate the tight fit the pesky 20g 2.5mm rings cause in my ring choices, but still, the design remains primarily the same as mine.

Since my friend pointed this out to me, I have been kind of really busy, my husband and I are moving across the country this summer and we’ve been getting our house on the market/traveling out of town to house hunt, etc. so I really have pushed it to the back of my mind – it was fairly easy to do since everywhere I looked did not have the issue on their shelves yet.

It was also easy to do since it just gave me that awful pit in my stomach to even think about, so I just ignored it as hard as I could.

But now, the magazine is actually out in stores, and I am forced to actually think of this.

A few weeks of ignoring and mulling it over have done a lot for me. Was she within her rights to do so? I don’t even know. I doubt she followed the claims of copyright infringement that swirled around these designs last fall, or maybe she would have thought twice before submitting them to the magazine. I’m certain that those who followed that story would recognize these pieces immediately.

The inital anger and betrayal have faded, and now all I am left with is disappointment. Lauren Anderson and I are on the same Etsy Team, the Chainmailler’s Guild and I’ve cheered on her accomplishments (and they are many) on our team email mailing list. The thought that such a talented artist would act in this manner is very disappointing. And I have to admit, I’m also disappointed because these pieces were ones that I myself wanted to submit to a magazine, after our move and my full time job switched from “full time working web designer & mom” to “full time jewelry artist & mom” … I’m disappointed that now I won’t ever be able to do that.

Here is my letter to Step by Step Wire magazine, cc: to Lauren Anderson

CC: Lauren Anderson

Letter to the Editor,

I am quite disappointed to see a very close rendition of my own “Shenandoah” earrings in the June/July 2011 issue under the name Lace Skirts by Lauren Anderson.

Lauren Anderson purchased a kit from my Etsy store for the Shenandoah bracelet, earrings and pendant in July 2010. Lauren made some changes to the ring sizes in the published tutorial and I’m sure work hard on the tutorial itself (my kit did not include a photo tutorial, just written construction tips). But the fact still remains she did not design this piece. Perhaps submitting this piece with her changes was perfectly within her legal rights. How much tweaking and adjusting does one need to do in order to classify it as her own? I am no expert.

I am hurt and very disappointed to think the artist I supported and looked up to would submit a piece as her own, when clearly it was not.

Amy C Sanders
raine studios

Shenandoah Earrings in Step by Step Wire magazine?

Any further updates I will post here on my blog.


5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Shenandoah Earrings in Step by Step Wire magazine?”

  1. Jo Ferris (42things)on 25 May 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Whether she was within her “rights” or not because she changed a few things does not mean it was right for her to claim the design as her own.

    i think step by step needs to issue a retraction and at least give you credit for the original design.

    so sorry that you’ve been disappointed like this raine 🙁

  2. Lauren Andersenon 26 May 2011 at 1:31 am

    I hope you allow me the opportunity to respond to your email here on your blog.

    Here is the email I sent to you today:

    “Hi Amy,

    I am so sorry that you are hurt. That was not my intention. I did not present this weave as my own original design. I wrote the step by step detailed instructions with pictures because I thought the design was beautiful. I consider the Japanese 12-in-2 design to be universal just like the Byzantine, European 4-in-1, Dragonscale, etc. All of these weaves have been featured many times by many different designers. I have seen this same design made by several people.

    I truly do apologize for hurting your feeling.”

    I have just read your “claims of copyright infringement” article. But like you said “I’m just too lazy to even make a free tutorial.” I did not know that you had intentions of having this design published. I believe that by publishing beautiful designs, such as Shenandoah in widely seen magazines we further the ancient art of chainmaille.

    I also am a member of M.A.I.L. and regularly contribute $ to because I love his instructions also. But not everyone is willing to navigate through the M.A.I.L. website.

    Because I teach chainmaille classes I write my own instructions and take my own pictures. I also do not believe in copying instructions from either M.A.I.L., cgmaille, Blue Buddha, or anyone else for use in my class.

    In reworking your gorgeous design I, like you, spent many frustrating hours trying different size rings in different gauges.

    I would like us to resolve this issue because I do admire you and your work.

    Thank you for your time,


  3. Lindaon 26 May 2011 at 10:18 am

    I feel like this stepping stones weave/design/I don’t know the right terms to use is cursed. The Copyright Curse.

  4. Ton 30 May 2011 at 9:40 am

    Pot meet kettle.
    How can you possibly complain like this when you’ve done it yourself?

  5. amyon 31 May 2011 at 8:43 am

    Thank you for your apology Lauren, I appreciate it.

    I think there is a difference between publishing a tutorial for a universal weave, such as byzantine, E4-1, dragonscale, etc. and submitting a *DESIGN* of very specific number of rings and sizes. Chainmaille is an ancient art, and we all have a fine line to walk and I certainly don’t claim to be an expert.

    T: I only have to say there’s a bit of a difference between two people independently developing the same design, which I believe I documented fairly well previously, and someone purchasing a kit, tweaking the sizes and submitting for publication.

    I apologize to anyone following this to the delay in my response. We’ve been negotiating the contract for our home and traveling to find a new house in Colorado.